Dr. Donald Singleton and Assistant Principal Ms. Adebimpe Oni who was born in Nigeria have a photo after a lesson about the history of Africa. (Courtesy photo)

 Dorsey High School is proud to pilot an AP African American Studies course in the 2022-23 school year.  For nearly a decade, the College Board has worked with colleges, universities, and secondary schools to explore an AP course and exam in the field of African American Studies.   

 Currently, there are only 65 schools in the entire country offering this course.  After an extensive selection process, Dorsey was chosen to be the only public high school in California to pilot this project. 

 The AP or advanced placement course program offers classes developed by the College Board to give high school students an introduction to college-level classes and also gain college credit before graduating high school.  Students who complete the course and pass the respective AP exam receive full college credit for the course. 

Singleton leads a reflective discussion circle with AP African American Studies students. (Courtesy photo)

The AP African American Studies course at Dorsey is being taught by Dr. Donald Singleton, who has been an AP instructor for 20 years and has worked with College Board as an AP U.S. Government and Politics Reader for nine years.  Singleton, who is also a College Board National AP Advocate Lead, holds a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and has taught at Dorsey High School for 25 years.   

“There has never been an AP course focusing on Africa and African Americans. It is a distinct privilege and honor to elevate AP African American Studies to the level of AP Comparative Government and Politics, AP Human Geography, and AP European History,” said Singleton. 

 “It makes the statement that African American Studies is just as important as any other AP course and gives the message to all students that the journey of African Americans is just as important as the journey of any other race, culture or ethnicity,” he noted. 

 The curriculum will explore the Origins of the African Diaspora, Enslavement and Insurgency, The Practice of Freedom, and Social Movements.  Within these broad thematic units, the focus will be on:   

  • The power and majesty of African kingdoms before European colonization and the onset of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  
  • Resistance to Enslavement through optimism, perseverance, self-validation and defiance, and the global abolitionist movement. 
  • Cultural rebirth and community building after abolition i.e., the Great Migrations, and the Harlem Renaissance. 
  • Social Movements and Political Activism such as the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, Black Feminism, the worldwide movement for Black Lives. 

 The course will be empowering and enlightening for all students who partake in it, regardless of race or ethnicity. The goal of the College Board is to pilot the course this fall at the 65 schools, and to expand the following year to add additional schools.  According to the College Board, the course has the potential to introduce hundreds of thousands of students to this important discipline, exponentially increasing the number of high schools offering an African American Studies course and the number of students learning about the impact of Africa on the world. 

 The impact is already apparent at Dorsey High School.  Allegresse Ngoma, a junior who is enrolled in the class stated, “When I first heard about this course, I was automatically interested. I am from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is located in central Africa. Not only did I believe that this course would be a great opportunity to shed light on the beauty of Africa, but it would change people’s perspectives on how powerful and deep the African history is!”   

 The Dorsey High School community is excited and optimistic about the continued growth and development of this outstanding program.